What can I say about Gillie? He was my best friend and the most loyal companion I could ever have wished for. He made me laugh every day with his antics. He could sense when I was down and would always try to comfort me or cheer me up.

In his eleven years, he was never told off. I think I got off lightly but he really was the perfect dog from the moment we bought him home.

He had character. We abandoned the Good Citizen awards after silver because he found training so exciting he could not do anything without barking at me VERY loudly! Agility and beating was much more his thing and he threw himself enthusiastically into these hobbies.

Gillie loved his sleep and was not a morning dog, come to think about it he wasn’t an evening dog either! He was content to just be with us, but the minute there was a hint of a walk or some food he was there. He would sit and stare at me while I worked and even if I didn’t see him coming, I could feel those Labrador eyes.

Saying goodbye was the hardest thing, but he had the most perfect end of life I could have hoped for in the garden at home on a sunny day, eating cheese until he quietly fell asleep. He died the way he lived, with dignity and he will always be my once in a lifetime dog.

If I could give anyone having to make this decision any advice, it would be to plan ahead so you are not having to make decisions while your emotions are running high.